Top Defender Leads Men's Basketball Preseason Squad
Tanner Omlid returns for his senior season after setting GNAC single-season records last year for steals and steals per game. Photo by Paul Dunn.
Tanner Omlid returns for his senior season after setting GNAC single-season records last year for steals and steals per game. Photo by Paul Dunn.

Friday, October 27, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – The top defensive player in the conference in 2016-17 is the top player overall entering the season as Western Oregon’s Tanner Omlid leads the 2017-18 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team.

Omlid was the unanimous selection by coaches as the 2017-18 Preseason Player of the Year, receiving 10 first-place votes (coaches could not vote for their players). The senior forward is the lone returning First Team All-GNAC selection from a year ago and joins senior guard Ali Faruq-Bey as Western Oregon’s two representatives to the team.

Defending GNAC champion Western Washington leads all teams with three Preseason All-Conference selections, including senior forward Deandre Dickson, sophomore forward Daulton Hommes and junior guard Trey Drechsel. Seattle Pacific is represented by sophomore forward Tony Miller and junior guard Coleman Wooten while Central Washington landed two selections in senior center Fuquan Niles and junior guard Naim Ladd.

Alaska Anchorage’s two selections are both newcomers to the conference as senior forward Jacob Lampkin and senior guard D.J. Ursery join the program from Division I Pacific (Calif.).

Rounding out the GNAC Preseason All-Conference Team is Northwest Nazarene senior forward Maurice Jones, Concordia senior forward Christopher Edward, Saint Martin’s junior guard/forward Jordan Kitchen and Simon Fraser senior guard/forward JJ Pankratz. Joining Omlid as unanimous selections to the team is Miller, Dickson, Hommes, and Edward.

Omlid, the 2016-17 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year and Second Team NABC All-West Region selection, finished his junior season averaging 15.6 points per game, but made his biggest contributions on defense. He set GNAC single-season records with 97 total steals and 3.21 steals per game, finishing second among Division II players. His season was highlighted by the first triple-double by a GNAC player in three years with 18 points, 15 rebounds and a GNAC single-game record 11 steals against Seattle Pacific on Feb. 4.

Faruq-Bey, a transfer to WOU last season from Division I Idaho State, followed right behind Omlid in scoring with an average of 15 points per game to go along with four rebounds per game and 54 steals. His 1.7 steals per game tied him for third among GNAC players.

Dickson leads three Western Washington selections as the team’s top returning scorer, averaging 14.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. His .620 field goal percentage (116-187) was second best in the GNAC, but fell short of the minimum of five field goals made per game to rank among the Division II leaders.

Hommes is one of two sophomores named to the Preseason All-Conference Team and was an impact player on both ends of the floor as a freshman. He averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game and his .479 three-point percentage (31-46) led the conference. Drechsel was dynamic in the guard position for the Vikings, averaging 9.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 75 percent from the free throw line. Both Dickson and Hommes were honorable mentions to the All-GNAC Team.

Seattle Pacific’s Miller was the clear choice for GNAC Freshman of the Year after he finished fourth in the GNAC with 19 points per game and third with 9.7 rebounds per game while ranking 19th in Division II with 7.2 defensive rebounds per game. He had 15 double-doubles for the Falcons last year and scored a season-high 34 against Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 14. Wooten earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC after a season where he finished with 17 points and eight rebounds per game. He was fourth in the GNAC with 6.2 defensive rebounds per game and scored a season-high 35 points at Saint Martin’s on Jan. 17.

Niles earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC honors for Central Washington. He was the team’s top rebounder and finished fifth in the GNAC with 8.3 rebounds per game while averaging 9.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Niles’ .637 field goal percentage (100-157) led the conference. Ladd is the Wildcats’ top returning scorer having averaged 13.5 points per game in his sophomore campaign.

Jones earned Second Team All-GNAC accolades for Northwest Nazarene and is the team’s top returning scorer. He was the only GNAC player to average a double-double last year, averaging 16 points per game while leading the GNAC and ranking 15th in Division II with 10.4 rebounds per game and a .507 field goal percentage.

Edward collected honorable mention honors for Concordia as a junior. The transfer from Chaffey College finished fourth in the GNAC with 8.6 rebounds per game while averaging 11.7 points per game with 43 blocks. Edward shot 58 percent from the field (142-245), ranking him fourth in the GNAC.

Kitchen started in all but three of Saint Martin’s games, averaging 8.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The junior was an impact player on defense as his 1.1 blocks per game ranked eighth in the GNAC.

Pankratz was the third leading scorer for Simon Fraser, averaging 12.4 points per game. One of the top three-pointer shooters in the GNAC, Pankratz’s .460 three-point percentage (46-100) ranked second in the league.

Lampkin and Ursery are two of three transfers to Alaska Anchorage from Pacific (Calif.), who is trying to ease the departure of 12 players from last year’s team. Lampkin was the fifth leading scorer for the Tigers last season, averaging 6.4 points per game before his season was shortened by a broken foot. Ursery was the Tigers’ sixth-leading scorer while averaging six points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 16 minutes per contest.

The exhibition season begins tonight with Central Washington hosting Northwest (Wash.). The regular season begins on Fri., Nov. 10, with all 11 GNAC teams in action.

Player of the Year: Tanner Omlid, Western Oregon    
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Tanner Omlid Western Oregon F 6-3 Sr. Monmouth, Ore. (Army)
* Tony Miller Seattle Pacific F 6-6 So. Woodinville, Wash. (Woodinville)
* Deandre Dickson Western Washington F 6-9 Sr. Easton, Calif. (Bakersfield Coll.)
* Daulton Hommes Western Washington F 6-5 So. Lynden, Wash. (Lynden Christian)
* Maurice Jones Northwest Nazarene F 6-5 Sr. Riverside, Calif. (Saddleback JC)
+ Jacob Lampkin Alaska Anchorage F 6-9 Sr. Bellevue, Wash. (Univ. of the Pacific)
Fuquan Niles Central Washington C 6-11 Sr. Seattle, Wash. (North Idaho JC)
Coleman Wooten Seattle Pacific F 6-5 Jr. Maple Valley, Wash. (Tahoma)
Ali Faruq-Bey Western Oregon G 6-2 Sr. Chicago, Ill. (Idaho State Univ.)
Naim Ladd Central Washington G 5-7 Jr. Seattle Wash. (Rainier Beach)
* Christopher Edward Concordia F 6-7 Sr. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Chaffey Coll.)
Jordan Kitchen Saint Martin’s G/F 6-7 Jr. Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Prep)
+ DJ Ursery Alaska Anchorage G 6-6 Sr. Los Angeles, Calif. (Univ. of the Pacific)
Trey Drechsel Western Washington G 6-6 Jr. Woodinville, Wash. (Cedar Park Christian)
JJ Pankratz Simon Fraser G/F 6-7 Sr. Abbotsford, B.C. (Yale)
* - Unanimous Selection          
+ - Conference Newcomer